Summary by PEN Weekly Newsblast
"In its annual Technology Counts report, Education Week assesses virtual education to be at a "critical juncture." The popularity of online education continues to rise as students, parents, and educators embrace its flexibility, multi-media, and personalized aspects. School districts are now building their own virtual programs, making district-based efforts the fastest-growing model for this form of education. But as e-learning moves further into the K-12 mainstream, it is also attracting closer scrutiny from educators, policymakers, researchers, and the media, prompting questions about its effectiveness. Even proponents concede the movement needs better accountability measures.
The overall report examines the growth of district-based programs designed with more local control, and tracks state legislative efforts to expand online education and evaluate its efficacy. It also covers accountability questions surrounding virtual education providers, particularly for-profit companies, and issues related to the financial sustainability of state-sponsored e-schools. The report deems accountability to be the upcoming challenge for online-education providers, whether for-profit, state-sponsored, virtual charters, or district-based online learning initiatives. All must determine what is not working, and implement measures to address those problems.